The Peril of Dishonesty at the Fiance Visa Interview

June 6, 2014 in Attorney Blog

I just had a potential client contact me after their fiancé visa was denied at the embassy stage because the foreign fiancé lied to the interviewer about his criminal record.  He was embarrassed to have three small misdemeanor convictions and so he lied about his record.  The interviewer knew about the criminal record and not only denied the visa but also passed judgment that the fiancé was permanently inadmissible to the U.S. on grounds of material misrepresentation to a consular officer. I felt terrible for these potential clients and wished that they had contacted me before the interview.  At this point they have a very difficult case that requires an I-601 waiver of inadmissibility.  It can be very difficult to get an I-601 approved. The moral of the story is to always be honest with the USCIS and consulate.  If you or your fiancé have a criminal record you need to hire an immigration lawyer to help you navigate the pitfalls caused by the criminal record.

The Importance of Presenting a Good Fiancee Visa Case

June 6, 2014 in Attorney Blog

I just had a client successfully obtain her fiancee visa in Cairo. The American embassies in North Africa can be extremely skeptical of fiancee visa cases. I have embarked upon a new strategy to deal with suspicious or skeptical embassies. I have been practicing fiancé visa law for more than 12 years and  in that time I have dealt with American embassies all over the world.   Some embassies are very easy to work with and other embassies tend not to believe that fiancee visa relationships are legitimate. The American embassies in North Africa have recently become extremely suspicious of fiancé visa cases. The key to dealing with a skeptical American embassy is to build an extremely well documented fiancee visa case. It is very important to submit extensive and convincing evidence that the fiancé visa relationship is real and romantic. If possible it is best for the American citizen and foreign fiancee to meet more than once prior to filing and to visit during the processing of the case. Even the most skeptical embassy interviewer can be convinced by persuasive evidence of romance.   In the fiancee visa case mentioned above the American petitioner took my advice that he accompany his fiancee to her interview. The American petitioner was not allowed into the interview but I believe it made a significant impression on the interviewer that the petitioner was there in Cairo at that time.

Unauthorized Practice of Law and the Fiance Visa

August 28, 2013 in Attorney Blog

On August 21, 2013, the Ohio Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law recommended that the State Supreme Court find that Thomas Jones, Jr., a non-lawyer in Cleveland, is guilty of the unauthorized practice of law because he helped prepare real estate deeds for two Cleveland homeowners. The Ohio board furthers asserts that legal documents—including deeds, contracts, and trusts—may not be prepared by a non-lawyer for the benefit of another. In other words, the Ohio Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law is seeking a State Supreme Court ruling that would forbid any non-lawyer to prepare a form for the benefit of another person. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the board, it will become criminal for a non-lawyer to prepare a fiancé visa petition for another person. This current case may be the start of a major crackdown on non-lawyers who operate forms services. Non-lawyers do not possess the skills and training to represent people in immigration cases or any other types of cases. The State Bars have an obligation to protect the public from non-lawyers who are unlawfully practicing law.

Same Sex Fiancee Visa

August 28, 2013 in Attorney Blog

On Friday August 2, 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the U.S. visa system will now treat same sex fiance visa cases exactly the same as it treats straight fiance visa cases. Kerry stated that the State Department was “tearing down an unjust and an unfair barrier that for too long stood in the way of same-sex families being able to travel as a family to the United States.” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced last month that the USCIS would process same sex fiancee visa and marriage visa cases “in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse”. I have already filed a same sex marriage visa case and I am presently preparing other same sex cases for USCIS submission. I fully expect the USCIS to treat these same sex cases exactly the same a opposite sex cases. In other words, these cases will require the same substantial preparation and proof that my other cases require. The petitioner will need to establish the romantic bona-fides of the same sex relationship in addition to meeting all the other requirements of the fiance visa or marriage visa.

The B-2 Tourist Visa for a Fiancee

August 28, 2013 in Attorney Blog

A fiance visa client recently asked me why we were doing a fiancee visa case rather than a B-2 visa case. My answer was simple: (1) The B-2 visa does not allow for a foreign fiancee to enter the U.S. for the purpose of marriage; and (2) as a practical matter this particular fiancee would not likely be able to obtain a B-2 visa. Please note that fiancees from most first world countries can actually obtain B-2 visas but fiancees from second and third world countries generally cannot obtain B-2 visas. In any event, the USCIS does not usually allow foreign fiancees to enter the U.S. on B-2 visas and then marry and adjust to permanent status. The USCIS will usually rule that the foreign fiancee is guilty of an immigration violation for entering the U.S. on a B-2 visa with the intent to marry a U.S. citizen. The fiance visa is the only visa that specifically allows a foreign fiance to enter the U.S. for the purpose of marrying an American citizen.

The Fiance Visa and Domestic Violence Convictions

August 28, 2013 in Attorney Blog

I recently started working on a fiance visa case in which the American petitioner has multiple domestic violence convictions. Under IMBRA the petitioner is required to disclose these convictions to the USCIS and provide the USCIS with certified court and police records related to the domestic violence crimes. Furthermore, IMBRA requires that the embassy abroad inform this petitioner’s fiancee of his criminal convictions. I have considerable experience in dealing with fiance visa cases in which the American petitioner has a criminal record. Generally, the USCIS is most concerned with ensuring disclosure of the criminal record. In practice, the USCIS typically will approve these cases so long as the petitioner is fully cooperative with disclosure.

Fiance Visa Petition when Petitioner has Many Criminal Convictions

July 25, 2013 in Attorney Blog

I recently started a fiance visa case in which the American petitioner has a very large number of felony and misdemeanor convictions. Fortunately, most of his convictions do not involve domestic violence or drug or alcohol abuse. The key to a case like this is to approach it very methodically. The first step is to do a comprehensive criminal record check. Once the criminal records are obtained, I review them fully to determine which records need to be submitted to the USCIS. It is very possible to obtain a fiance visa even with domestic violence and/or drug and alcohol convictions. It is necessary to fully comply with USCIS rules and regulations regarding disclosure. The USCIS is concerned for the safety of the beneficiary and so it is essential to establish that the petitioner is reformed and does not represent a danger to the beneficiary. An experienced fiance visa attorney can deal with issues as they come up.


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